By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — City officials are once again beginning the process to obtain grants for a transient marina.
In April, the previous City Council voted against applying for a $2.1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources-Parks and Recreation, Waterways Grant Program.
It would have covered 48.5 percent of the marina’s total cost.
The marina’s proposed location would be in Bishop Park.
Then-council members Patrick Sutka, Jason Ptak and Johnny Kolakowski did not believe the marina was a responsible use of funds during the current economic climate.
Former mayor and now Councilman James DeSana, along with former councilman, now Mayor Joseph Peterson and council members Sheri Sutherby-Fricke and Todd Browning were in favor of applying for a grant.
Now, with those against the marina no longer in office, the council and other officials are planning to apply for the grant again next year. The city has until April 1 to apply and will take several steps to determine if the marina is feasible.
First, officials will have to determine if there is support for funding the city’s 50 percent match of the grant.
City Engineer Mark Kowalewski suggested that the Downtown Development Authority should notify the Tax-Increment Financing Authority Board of the DDA’s approval to determine the ability to fund the matching portion through future budget recommendations.
“For instance, if $240,000 could be allotted to this project within TIFA’s budget for the next five years, then the matching funds would be in place when Wyandotte’s opportunity to receive a grant occurs,” Kowalewski said. The Engineering Department has also met with representatives of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regarding the issuance of a permit for the transient marina that would be required for the grant. MDEQ’s Water Bureau has concerns regarding dredging at the site.
To address that concern, the city will apply for a Downriver Area Brownfield Consortium, Downriver Community Conference assessment grant that will provide samples of the proposed area of dredging.
Another concern, from the MDEQ Fisheries Division, is that Wyandotte currently restricts public shore fishing opportunities, and that the proposed marina could further impede public shore fishing.
The city only allows fishing in the morning on the walkway from the south side of the parking lot to the American Legion Post 447 in Bishop Park, and there is no fishing permitted from the Legion to the dock previously used for Boblo boats.
To address that concern, the City Council approved public shore fishing at Perry Place at the Detroit River, where fishing was previously prohibited.
The city’s Department of Public Service is now in the process of erecting a decorative fence at the shore line, removing the “no fishing” signs and putting trash receptacles in place at the location.
If the TIFA board determines it can come up with the matching funds for the grant, a public hearing will be set in regard to the marina.
“I’m just glad that we’re all in favor of the marina,” Sutherby-Fricke said.
By BROOKE STEVENSON